My regular readers know that I’ve been sharing reader input for the last few columns, and I’m gratified to find that some of you have kindly offered to share your own internal determinations of which aspects of customer performance online are worth measuring.
To protect readers’ competitive advantage, I’ve done some editing here so that their specific industries cannot be determined, and I’m reporting the learnings with the sources left anonymous. In the future, unless your email specifically gives permission to attribute the thoughts to you, I’ll assume you wish to remain anonymous.
A reader from the U.S. wrote to tell me about the measures most valued in his organization, along with some solid thinking about how the findings are used. He admits that although none of the learnings to date have been “earthshattering,” the metrics have provided interesting data to work with internally. He’s watching the following (in his own words, more or less):
- Return rate. What percentage of site visitors visited more than once? This is a basic indicator of “loyalty,” but we hope to do more sophisticated analysis on this concept. One issue we’re grappling with is “different-day visits.” In other words, we consider a visitor to have returned only if the visits were on different days because we are beginning to think that same-day visits may be more telling if measured as the same visit.
- Demographics. Fortunately, we have an existing customer database and have been able to determine very detailed demographic profiles of those who logged in. Looking at our age breakdown showed us that our biggest group is actually older than we thought. We’re finding that this type of information, as opposed to clickstream data, is the most interesting and will help our user-experience team better target the content.
- Recency. This provides a time indicator showing whether people visit us only once in a while or regularly. The ultimate measurement is the time between visits. Among other things, this has the potential for guiding the rate of content changes.
- Ratio of logged-in page views. What percentage of page views occurred during a logged-in session? It would be nice to do this at the VISIT level, but due to the ambiguity of defining visits, we’re sticking with page views for now. It turned out that a very small proportion of page views were occurring during a logged-in session.
A writer from Italy tells me that his organization is more focused on the amount of time a visitor spends on a given page because it suspects a high correlation between level of immersion in a topic and the branding effectiveness of messages on those pages. I hope he’ll share the organization’s findings when testing is completed!
A New York City reader says customer acquisition has ceased to be her company’s top measure of performance; instead she and her colleagues are focusing on customers who return to purchase again within a month of the first purchase on the site. They have learned that shoppers who do not come back within that time frame are less likely to come back at all, and so all of their attention is on keeping good customers happy rather than on spending money to attract the one-timers and tire-kickers.
Makes sense to me, and I’m happy to see more e-commerce sites looking into “lifetime value” metrics.
What else are you looking at? Keep those cards and letters coming!